Syrian women to replace Big Ben’s missing chimes in honour of missing loved ones

What: Families for Freedom, a women-led campaign for the rights of Syria’s disappeared and detained, will sing Big Ben’s missing chimes from the roof of a specially decorated London bus parked on Parliament Square.

Over the next four years, Big Ben will miss over 200,000 of its famous bongs – the same number as are estimated to be detained in Syria today. Ahead of the protest, the group has covered an entire London bus with hundreds of framed photos of imprisoned family members.

Where: Parliament Square, London, SW1P 3BD

When: Wednesday 11th October from 1130 to 1330. Performances at 1200 and 1300.

Who: Six Syrian women, all with disappeared or detained family members, are available for interview. One is a fluent English speaker and translation will be provided for others. They will be joined by a London-based refugee choir.

Why: Over the last six years of war in Syria, an estimated 200,000 women, men and children have been arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime and armed opposition and extremist groups. The vast majority of Syrian detainees are peaceful people, imprisoned for arbitrary political reasons.

Detainees face abuse, torture, starvation and extremely difficult living conditions. Detainees don’t suffer alone, their families suffer too. Families for Freedom are visiting London this month to share their story of hope and defiance with the UK. They have been intimidated and told not to speak out, but they will not be silenced until every loved one in Syria is returned.


11:45 Bus arrives Parliament Square
12:00-12:10 Syrian women and refugee choir perform Big Ben chimes and Syrian songs
12:10-12:45 Interviews Please contact Caitlin McNamara (details above) to book. Full bios available on request.
13:00-13:10 Second performance of chimes; speeches
13:10-13:30 Interviews
14:00 Ends

More information:

NB: Families for Freedom will be in London from 9th – 13th October; broadcast, online and print interviews available at other times.